By Michael Angelo S. Murillo
Senior Reporter

ALREADY a steady supporter of Philippine sports the past few years, Chooks-to-Go is set to expand its sporting thrust with a planned 3-on-3 basketball league for women beginning in February.

Announced in a press conference at the Bounty Agro Ventures, Inc. (BAVI) office at Ortigas Center on Tuesday, which also served to recognize the gold medal efforts of the Philippine women’s basketball team at the recent Southeast Asian Games, Chooks-to-Go 3×3 Pilipinas owner and BAVI president Ronald Mascariñas said that due to the huge clamor for a women’s tournament they are taking heed and making it a reality.

“First of all there was really a clamor for women’s basketball now especially after the SEA Games. I have my own Facebook page and before not a single comment about women’s basketball was on it, but now the public is really urging us to support women’s basketball as well. That is why we are trying to organize a 3×3 league for women’s basketball because that is what the Filipinos want now,” said Mr. Mascariñas.

The women’s league is planned to coincide with the Chooks-to-Go 3×3 league for men, with the same aspirations of bringing 3×3 hoops to the fore and elevating the country’s status in it, including earning outright qualification in the Olympics down the line.

“Our target is automatic qualification. In the next four years, we should qualify in the top three,” Mr. Mascariñas said.

“For the 2020 Olympics, we almost made it with little activity, but if we organize 3×3 basketball for women, we have a good chance, not just for OQT (Olympic Qualifying Tournament) but for the automatic qualification,” he added.

Mr. Mascariñas also highlighted that adding women’s 3×3 to the roster of sports they are backing is not only for the sake of just doing it but rather a continuation of the mission they have set forth as an organization under the “Manok Ng Bayan” thrust.

The Manok Ng Bayan mission started in 2016 and is geared towards helping promote nationalism through sports and inspiring the Filipinos.

“Our Manok Ng Bayan mission is not only for the sake of being in sports. The underlying reason why we are supporting basketball is because we see it as a source of inspiration, especially for the poor. For us these athletes, both men and women, can inspire them not to lose hope in life; that there is always a way to improve themselves,” Mr. Mascariñas said.

At the press conference, Mr. Mascariñas was joined by national team members Jack Animam, Afril Bernardino and Claire Castro as well as women’s team assistant coach Mark Solano.

For their efforts in winning the 3×3 gold medal in the 30th SEA Games, the players were rewarded by Chooks-to-Go with cash incentives.